Ajani, Mentor of Heroes- I always love checking out the new planeswalkers that each set reveals, and this one looks super sweet. The art is sweet, so right there we have a plus. The 5 mana is steep, but with the improved abilities on this guy over some of the other incarnations of Ajani, I think it is very playable. What I like most is that he comes in at 4 loyalty and starts ticking up right away…and you can’t minus him until he ultimates. The 2nd ability, of being able to filter through your deck for an Aura, a creature or a planeswalker gives this guy a huge card draw advantage and will be super powerful. The 1st ability of handing out 3 +1/+1 counters is also amazing and steep upgrade from Ajani, Caller of the Pride. The ultimate is kind of silly, because by the point he reaches 8 loyalty you should probably have things under control, but just in case you didn’t the 100 life will pretty well put things out of reach. The only drawback that I can see, and it is a relatively small one, is that he can’t protect himself. Sure, he can make basically your entire team much tougher to deal with, but there is almost no way you really want to cast this guy into a board state where you are behind and empty because he just can’t do enough to save you or stay alive. However, this Ajani is very cool and I see big things for him. I’ll give him an A+ because I think this guy is going to be a beast for a long time to come.
Crystalline Nautilus- This will join the realm of the Phantasmal Bear as fun cards with hilarious abilities. The relative overpowered nature of this card is totally balanced by the fact that when it is targeted you need to sacrifice it. On the whole, a fun and flavourful card that will have a home in a limited game. It gets a B- from me.
Mogis’s Warhound- A super aggressively costed 2/2 for 2 mana, but even more so is the Bestow cost of a mere 3. Sure, it attacks every turn, but if you are playing this Red deck that’s pretty much all you want to do anyway. It is a good solid card and a matching good solid B from me.
Sage of Hours- This is another Mythic Rare released last night and he’s very solid. A 2 mana 1/1 with Heroic that gives him +1/+1 whenever he is targeted with one of your spells. The casting cost makes him very competitive and will slide nicely into W/U Heroic decks without a second glance. However, it is his second ability that is pretty wild. If you remove all the +1/+1 counters from Sage of Hours and for each 5 counters you remove you get to take an extra turn. Taking extra turns is always very powerful, although by the time the guy is a 6/6 you should either have the game all sown up…or something terrible has happened to you. However, I love the card and think that it could be broken by a Johnny out there. I’m giving this guy an A for being a solid Heroic creature and having a super powerful additional ability to be exploited.
Sightless Brawler- a 3/2 for 2 mana is pretty awesome as we have seen in limited. Swordwise Centaur has done good work for draft players and this guy will too. The drawback on this guy is that he can’t attack alone, but he is probably fitting in nicely in a White based Heroic deck and will have plenty of friends to follow into battle. Also, he is still able to block, so he comes down early to play a little D, and then when he lands a friend can roll into attack mode. The Bestow ability is just extra value in the late game and gives a pretty sizeable boost for 5 mana. I like this guy and give him a B for being just a very useful body despite his drawback.
Spirespine- A 4/1 for 3?! Ok…and he can Bestow too?! Wow! Ok, so he needs to block, if able, but let’s be realistic, he’s very aggressively costed and powered up so blocking isn’t really a big deal for this guy…he wants to go on the attack. We have seen that Nyxborn wolf has been very good at limited and he Bestows for the same 5 mana, so it would reason that a 4/1 for the same Bestow cost would be pretty sweet too. I like him and is another really sweet Bestow creature and gets a B from me.
Note: The more Bestow creatures I see, the more I like the ability! Nothing quite like getting extra value!
Temple of Epiphany and Temple of Malady- Ah yes, the corresponding Temples for this set. We have seen that these are super useful cards and the free Scry ability is very relevant. I can’t wait to get my hands on these guys. Further to that, I really like the art work. In particular the Temple of Malady looks very cool and foreboding.